When we look to the garden in the book of Genesis, we see God's original design for work in our lives. God knew work was good for the soul and designed us to reflect his glory through our work. In asking Adam to work in the garden God was teaching him to be productive with his time and to continue bringing order to creation. Unfortunately when sin entered the world we began to lose some of the joy associated with work and it became at times burdensome as work was cursed from the fall. We need a healthy view of work if we want to honor God's original intent for work in our lives.
In the creation account in Genesis the Bible teaches us when God was finishing his initial creation, he saw that it was good and rested. God was showing us a healthy rhythm of work followed by rest. We know quality of work mattered to God as we see him taking time to admire the work which had been accomplished. This shows us God was intentional as he worked with the end goal being able to look back and be satisfied with a job well done. For many of us, it is easy to elevate work above God in our lives and create an idol out of work. God's greatest command is to love him above everything else in the world. Our work is important to God but it should be viewed as subordinate to our creator.
When we look to Jesus for our example of work, we see he was a carpenter and did not go into ministry until the age of 30. This again shows us the value and dignity of all work. While many are called into ministry which is necessary and good, we don't have to become a missionary or pastor to serve God and others. Anyone, anywhere is capable of reflecting God's glory to the world in their work.
We also need to be careful as apprentices of Jesus we do not make an idol out of rest. In Matthew 12:1-8, we see Jesus push back against societies' views of rest which had become too restrictive and legalistic observing the Sabbath day of rest. Jesus is telling us he is Lord of the Sabbath and claims ownership of rest. If we want true rest, we must trust Jesus to lead our lives. Jesus is the only one who can truly give us the rest our souls need and desire. We are now able to change the intent of our work and rest to glorifying Jesus in thanks to his sacrifice for us. He wants us to live under God's grace and extend this grace to others we work with. Whether you're a carpenter or street sweeper, doctor or lawyer, mother or father, executive or assistant, in all we do we are to honor Jesus with our work and rest in him.